Friday, May 8, 2009

Medical Students, Health Care Professionals Tap IHI for Quality, Safety Courses

The Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) has developed a series of free online courses designed to teach medical students, nurses and other health care professionals about quality improvement and patient safety, American Medical News reports. Offered under the Cambridge, Mass.-based nonprofit Open School for Health Professions, the program aims to prepare "the next generation of health professionals so they have the tools to enter the work force as prepared and active participants in providing the best care for patients," according to the program's director. Since launching in September 2008, the Open School has established six introductory courses that cover topics such as how to set goals, collect and analyze data, and implement changes to improve quality; how teamwork and communication can reduce the risk of patient harm; and how human factors, such as the design of medical equipment, signage and labels, can impact care. Students can view videos and podcasts, participate in discussion groups and read case studies. After completing the course, students can earn certificates that can be added to their resume. To receive advanced certification, students are required to implement the principles they have learned in a related improvement project in the clinical setting. According to American Medical News , IHI is currently seeking to have the courses qualify as continuing medical education credits. To date, 12,000 students have registered to participate in the courses and student-led Open School chapters have launched at 122 health science schools in 12 countries (O'Reilly, American Medical News, 5/4/09).

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